Tag: South Asia Times

Holistic reforms needed to address dominance of digital platforms: ACCC

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By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 29 July: Australia needs dynamic reforms to take care of the dominance of digital platforms, says the recently released report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC’s ‘Digital platforms inquiry – final report’ (June 2019) considered the impact of online search engines, social media and digital content aggregators (digital platforms) on competition in the media and advertising services markets. In accordance with the Terms of Reference, the ACCC has examined the implications of these impacts for media content creators, advertisers, and consumers, focussing, in particular, on the impact on news and journalism.

The report contains 23 recommendations, spanning competition law, consumer protection, media regulation, and privacy law, reflecting the intersection of issues arising from the growth of digital platforms.

A media release from the ACCC says: “During the course of its Inquiry, the ACCC identified many adverse effects associated with digital platforms, many of which flow from the dominance of Google and Facebook.

These include:

The market power of Google and Facebook has distorted the ability of businesses to compete on their merits in advertising, media and a range of other markets
The digital advertising markets are opaque with highly uncertain money flows, particularly for automated and programmatic advertising

Consumers are not adequately informed about how their data is collected and used and have little control over the huge range of data collected News content creators are reliant on the dominant digital platforms, yet face difficulties in monetizing their content Australian society, like others around the world, has been impacted by disinformation and a rising mistrust of news.

“The dominant digital platforms’ response to the issues we have raised might best be described as ‘trust us’,” Mr Sims said.

“There is nothing wrong with being highly focused on revenue growth and providing increasing value to shareholders; indeed, it can be admired. But we believe the issues we have uncovered during this Inquiry are too important to be left to the companies themselves.”

“Action on consumer law and privacy issues, as well as on consumers’ data,” Mr. Sims said.”

The ACCC recommendations include:

- Requiring designated digital platforms to each provides the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) with codes to address the imbalance in the bargaining relationship between these platforms and news media businesses and recognize the need for value sharing and monetization of content

- Addressing the regulatory imbalance that exists between news media businesses and digital platforms, by harmonizing the media regulatory framework

- Targeted grants to support local journalism of about AU$50 million a year
Introducing measures to encourage philanthropic funding of public interest journalism in Australia

- ACMA monitoring the digital platforms’ efforts to identify reliable and trustworthy news

- Requiring the digital platforms to draft and implement an industry code for handling complaints about deliberately misleading and harmful news stories

- Introducing a mandatory take-down ACMA code to assist copyright enforcement on digital platforms.

The report also recommends about digital platforms’ impact on Australian media businesses and how Australians access news, empowering consumers, protecting privacy, continued scrutiny of digital platforms and expert regulators and agencies to play complementary roles.

A BBC report says: “A 12-week consultation process on the proposals is now under way, after which the Australian government can act on it.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the regulator was currently running five separate investigations into Facebook and Google.

He called for “a lot more transparency and oversight” of the two companies and added that breaking them up remained a possibility.

Both firms said they would engage with regulators.”

“The Morrison government labeled the world-first findings “groundbreaking” and said Facebook and Google needed to be held to account for their activities,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).

The SMH further says: “The DIGI, the industry body representing Google, Facebook, and other tech companies operating in Australia, called on the government to assess the ACCC’s recommendations against an “innovation test”, warning about impacts on Australia’s “global standing as a place to invest in technology”.

DIGI managing director Sunita Bose said the sector was closely examining the recommendations to “ensure they don’t bring unintended consequences to all digital businesses and the choice of digital products available to Australian consumers”.

The full ACCC report can be accessed at – https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/holistic-dynamic-reforms-needed-to-address-dominance-of-digital-platforms

- The report has been prepared using the ACCC media release, BBC report and Sydney Morning Herald report as sources.

Video: Gurmeet Ram Rahim gets 20 years for rape

Source: The Citizen.

Celebrate diversity, not simply tolerate it, says Premier Daniel Andrews

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‘Victorian. And proud of it.’ policy launched

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, Sunday 19: The Victorian Premier Hon. Daniel Andrews today called upon the community to celebrate diversity, not simply tolerate it. He was launching along with Deputy Premier James Merlino, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott and Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton who joined hundreds of community leaders at the Punt Road Oval to launch ‘Victorian. And proud of it’.

The new multicultural policy aims “to build on Victoria’s proud immigrant history and reaffirm the shared values that make us a stronger, safer and more harmonious community.”

“We are stronger for our diversity – but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. In the face of extremism and fear, we need to reaffirm what is most important to us.”
“Being a Victorian isn’t just about where you live. It’s about contribution and belonging, Premier Daniel Andrews said.”

The policy includes a series of initiatives to encourage Victorians – from all walks of life, all circumstances and all cultural backgrounds – to contribute and belong.

“Being a Victorian isn’t just about where you live. It’s about contribution and belonging.”
Quotes attributable to Deputy Premier James Merlino
“As a child of a migrant this is my family’s story – we are proud to have been an integral part of building this country.”

The policy is underpinned by the Victorian Values Statement, which articulates the values all Victorians should live by – one law for all, freedom to be yourself, discrimination is never acceptable, a fair go for all and that it is up to all of us to contribute.

A media release from the Premier Hon. Daniel Andrews office says, “Victorians are encouraged to read the stories of their fellow citizens on proud.vic.gov.au and share their own. To achieve a strong and cohesive Victoria, the Labor Government will:
- Ensure every Victorian knows their responsibilities and rights under the law through a $2.3 million awareness program
- Promote civil dialogue among Victorians and strengthen supportive social networks through a Right to Debate initiative
- Help young people avoid being manipulated and drawn to extremism by way of a Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship program
- Reduce discrimination in the delivery of a $1 million Anti-Racism Action Plan.”

A print and broadcast advertising campaign around ‘Victorian. And proud of it.’ will also begin today.

In his speech, Minister for Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott said, “To build a strong and fair society takes work, but we all deserve to enjoy the benefits of a dynamic and diverse
Victoria.”
“We all have something to contribute. To foster everyone’s sense of belonging, so they feel pride in their home and their state, is one of the most important things government can do,” he said.

Melbourne to host 2017 World Cup Gymnastics

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By SAT Sports Desk

MELBOURNE,3 February: In an Australian first, Melbourne will host the 2017 World Cup Gymnastics (22 -25 February 2017) at Hisense Arena. This has been reported in the Places of Victoria Newsletter.

As a part of the International Gymnastics Federation’s new World Cup format, Australia’s sporting capital will host a stop on the Individual Apparatus World Cup circuit for both Men’s and Women’s Artistic Gymnastics.

Some of the best gymnastic athletes in the world are coming from 15 countries – including Olympic Gold Medalists from Rio and London – and will compete across the four days.

SAT EXCLUSIVE: Brightness of Kaabil overcomes darkness: Hrithik Roshan

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SAT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH HRITHIK ROSHAN

By Neeraj Nanda

Hrithik Roshan’s latest movie ‘Kaabil’ is making waves on the box office. Directed by Sanjay Gupta, it has Yami Gautam as the leading lady with music by his father Rajesh Roshan. The 150 minutes’ movie in Hindi has English subtitles.

The blind leading pair fall in love, get married and a terrible tragedy strikes. Then the fire of vengeance is unstoppable. I caught up from Melbourne with Hrithik Roshan from Mumbai on the What’s App and he answered my questions about Kaabil, which he calls his best reviewed film.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: How was it playing a blind hero. Was it challenging?

A: Challenging, yes. It has a beautiful challenging script which leads to passion making it easy to act in the movie.

Q: Hrithik, while shooting actually the eyes can see but you posed as if they can’t. How did you manage that?

A: It was difficult. I practiced at home. I Blind folded myself and walked in the house. I did it every day.

Q: So, when you were practicing did you also fall down?

A: Yes, I did. Those who fall, learn to get up.

Q: Despite being a blind character, you gave a confident positive message, but Yami taking her own life gives a rather negative message. What do you say?

A: No, once you see the film you realise that our weakness can sometimes overcome us. We are all quite fragile. Adversity becomes tough. Yami comes from a small town and what happens is the reality. Rohan (Hrithik) then gives the message that the situation can be overcome. That is the brightness of Kaabil.

Q: How was it working with Yami?

A: The best co-star, I have worked in my life. She is simple and does not focus on herself. Instead, her focus is the entire movie.

Q: What is the message for blind couples who cannot see the movie?

A: In fact, the message is from the blind to all of us – don’t be afraid of darkness in your life. We all have some kind of darkness and the blind show us we can have the same potential as they have to fight darkness.

Q: In one scene you speak in Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. How could you manage it?

A: Practice led to that. Dubbing people say if you control your vocal cord muscle then you can utter anyone’s voice. I was able to do it.

Q: ‘Andha’ and ‘Andhi’ words used in the film. Aren’t they rude words?

A: These are labels. If I am blind and have lost my wife also blind, then I have to say I am ‘Andha’ and my wife is ‘Andhi’. There are no substitute words.

Q: Do you agree despite the love-rape-revenge theme this is a message film?

A: No, it is not. This is a beautiful entertaining movie. A unique concept film. In the cinema hall there was so much clapping after every dialogue. I enjoyed every bit of this film after my first movie ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hi”. This is my life’s big success and the best reviewed film.